A pale, pale cousin of Tullet’s best-seller.

TAP TO PLAY!

Blip is a round red creature who’s out to win a game.

He tells readers he needs to reach a numbered bar (it looks like a horizontal row of five Tetris blocks) to win. He is very willing to tell readers how they can help him win and “get a surprise.” Shake the book so he bounces—but that’s too fast. Tilt to the right and then left (the countdown of five numbers is now at four). How about tapping? Or filling up your mouth with air so Blip will blow up like a balloon? The numbers are down to one! But then the game is won, and suddenly sharing the plain white background is a green door, with a purple figure visible through its window. The surprise is a new friend, purple and clearly feminine, gender coded with eyelashes and a yellow bow in her topknot. The graphics are clear, sharp and geometric, pleasing and vivid against white backgrounds. Blip is quite direct about what he wants readers to do, and they may indeed enjoy the shouting, tapping, whispering and shaking. If they do, chances are good they are not familiar with Hervé Tullet’s Press Here (2011), which sets the bar extremely high for any book that attempts to mimic the interaction of a tablet or computer game. Blip does not meet it.

A pale, pale cousin of Tullet’s best-seller. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 7, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-06-228684-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2014

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THE GRUFFALO

The action of this rhymed and humorous tale centers upon a mouse who "took a stroll/through the deep dark wood./A fox saw the mouse/and the mouse looked good." The mouse escapes being eaten by telling the fox that he is on his way to meet his friend the gruffalo (a monster of his imagination), whose favorite food is roasted fox. The fox beats a hasty retreat. Similar escapes are in store for an owl and a snake; both hightail it when they learn the particulars: tusks, claws, terrible jaws, eyes orange, tongue black, purple prickles on its back. When the gruffalo suddenly materializes out of the mouse's head and into the forest, the mouse has to think quick, declaring himself inedible as the "scariest creature in the deep dark wood," and inviting the gruffalo to follow him to witness the effect he has on the other creatures. When the gruffalo hears that the mouse's favorite food is gruffalo crumble, he runs away. It's a fairly innocuous tale, with twists that aren't sharp enough and treachery that has no punch. Scheffler's funny scenes prevent the suspense from culminating; all his creatures, predator and prey, are downright lovable. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8037-2386-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1999

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Fun enough once through, but not much more.

THE SPAGHETTI-SLURPING SEWER SERPENT

A pint-sized sleuth tracks a purple underground monster.

When Mom scrapes the family's uneaten spaghetti into the sink, young Sammy Sanders hears strange slurping sounds. He becomes "77 percent convinced" that a spaghetti-slurping serpent lives in his sewer, and can't get to sleep. The next morning, Sammy and his little sister Sally investigate. There are meatballs and strands of limp spaghetti around the manhole cover! Sammy, whose round glasses make the whites of his eyes look as enormous as an owl's, can barely contain his excitement. After he removes the cover, Sally slips on some sauce and lands in the sewer, becoming a smelly sludgy mess. Sammy's left to investigate alone and comes up with a brilliant idea. Late that night, he sneaks out of the house with a salty snack for himself and a bowl of spaghetti for the serpent. But he falls asleep, and the huge serpent slithers up to the scrumptious spaghetti. Slurping sounds startle Sammy awake; he's face-to-face with the monster. There's just one thing to do: Share! Sammy' salty snack earns him a friend for life. And that night, he sleeps soundly, 100% sure that there's a serpent in his sewer. Zenz's illustrations, in Prismacolor colored pencil, look generic, but Ripes' yarn has pace and phonetic crackle.

Fun enough once through, but not much more.    (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-7614-6101-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish

Review Posted Online: Feb. 29, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2012

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